Saturday, September 27, 2008

On sleeping and diapers and orchards

This past week was an eventful week. First, there was that night when Valerie refused to be in a horizontal position, and I sat up with her until 10 a.m. Then, the very next night, she decided that she liked her crib, and slept for two stretches of three hours each in her own crib in her own room. (Aside to non-parents: three hours is a long stretch of sleep. Really.) Then, the next night, she slept for a solid stretch of FOUR hours, her longest sleep ever. With two more stretches of two hours each, I actually got EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP that night. But, lest I get cocky, she didn't let me sleep at all the next night. I dozed occasionally, 20 minutes here, 40 minutes there, but no real sleep. And the world seemed very dark that night, but I don't think you're truly a parent until you've seriously thought about throwing your crying baby out a second-story window. Sleep deprivation sucks.

We also switched to cloth diapers this week. Valerie passed the ten pound mark this week, and has outgrown her newborn-sized clothes and diapers. That was my personal deadline for switching to cloth. A new mom-friend gave me her prefold diapers and small covers, which I added to my stash of various shapes and sizes and styles that I had picked up at a garage sale. Over the next few days, I figured out a lot of things. First, I figured out that about half of the diapers I had were homemade by someone who didn't realize that diapers needed to be absorbent, and therefore made them only one layer thick. (I think I might still be able to use them once I make some inserts for them.) Second, I figured out that prefold diapers need to be washed before using in much hotter water than my washing machine is capable of. So I've been boiling small batches of diapers on my stove, which amuses me tremendously for some reason. I also figured out that the prefolds are much easier to fold into place if they are hung to dry instead of dried in the dryer. Unfortunately, I figured this part out on the last sunny day before rainy season hit. (Fortunately, I have a nice, long banister upstairs that is perfect for hanging things to dry.) Third, in doing some reading that I probably should have done earlier, I figured out that neither of the detergents I had in the house should be used on cloth diapers, which necessitated a quick, late-night trip to the store to buy the only enzyme-free detergent they had, out of about 20 different enzyme-with brands. Fourth, I figured out that my baby had absolutely no idea what it felt like to be wet, and therefore did not know how to communicate that feeling to me. It took us a couple of days to work out the "change me please" cues. Cloth diapered babies need to be changed much more often than disposably diapered babies. I think realization number four is directly related to lousy night number four, described above.

A few more diapering comments, and then, I promise I will tell a story that includes pictures. There is a lot to learn, but I'm mostly enjoying learning it. I'm looking forward to doing more creative things, like making wool or fleece covers. I like the prefolds more than I thought I would. They aren't that hard to use after all. And my conscience feels so much better about throwing a diaper in the wash than it did about throwing a diaper in the trash. (Aside: Did you know that one baby creates an average of one ton of trash during her diapered years?)

Last weekend was a lot of fun. We went to a La Leche League mini-conference on Saturday, which was informative as well as fun. I met some great people, including one who is fluent in French and knows several other moms who speak French, too. It would be so nice to have some people to speak French with - I feel like every day since I've lived here, I've forgotten another word of my second language. On Sunday we went to an apple orchard with Jer's parents, Jer's brother, and our friends Phil and Rachel. Unfortunately, their u-pick prices were almost as inflated as grocery store prices, so we skipped the apple-picking part of the trip. Fortunately, the orchard that we had chosen was more like a county fair, and had lots of fun things to do that did not involve picking expensive apples.

Like laughing at ducks with silly hair-dos:


Or propelling apples at scarecrows (while trying to avoid the dumb kids who thought that retrieving their apples to fire again was worth venturing down range of 75 mph projectile fruit):


We got lost in a scary corn maze:


Fortunately, we didn't have to starve to death, because the maze was made of corn:


There were pumpkins to lean on:


And pumpkins to sleep on:


And dorky cut-outs where you pretend to be American Gothic:


All in all, a fun day. And they had cider slushies and pumpkin funnel cake, so I'll definitely have to go back!

(More pictures on Flickr.)


benjiesluv said...

You totally should have said a maze made of maize...come on now... :P

Marianne said...

Welcome to the world of cloth dipaering! It's super. One point though: cloth diapered babies only need to be changed more often if you're using cotton pre-folds or liners with cotton or hemp next to the skin. Fleece-lined pocket diapers, or using a fleece liner beside the skin in a prefold, etc means you can go just as long with cloth as with disposibles, because the baby stays dry. Try cutting up some microfleece into rectangles and lining the diaper with it. Works wonders!

Anonymous said...

"but I don't think you're truly a parent until you've seriously thought about throwing your crying baby out a second-story window. Sleep deprivation sucks."

lol...thanks for keepin' it real! I get frustrated sometimes when moms are like, "oh, i have the best baby in the world...she sleeps through the night at 2 months, never cries, breastfeeds perfectly, and oh, she changes her own poopy diapers..." *eye roll*

being a mom is hard! but it does get better, i promise.

megan aka latinlover1130

Liana said...

Jule Ann-
First, thanks for your honesty!
I love reading your blog & the new adventures of being a mom!

sharon said...

I found these great liners that are fleece that keep the little skin super dry- so changing happens less often.
(I just read that comment from marianne- it's true.)
Cloth diapering makes me feel better too. But I must admit- next time I have a baby I am goinng to buy a packet of Nature Baby disposibles- (they're completely biodegradable) for the nights in the beginning. Selah was in cloth from birth on and when you still have to change diapers in the middle of the night- well, that's what I'm going to do. Dang, I am totally just rambling....

Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! I pray for sleep for you all!

Melody said...

Oh you are a brave green lady going cloth. Go to my blog, click on Pamela's blog, search for her soap nuts story. I guess these soap nuts are an awesome natural cleaner she used on her diapers. Funny story:) Hope this is helpful.

Marianne said...

Ooh, I'll have to look into the Nature Bbay disposibles. Do they come in the newborn size, or start at size 1? We had planned to use cloth right from the beginning (well, after the first week), but when our daughter was born premature and only 4lbs12oz, she didn't fit into her cloth diapers until she was 2 months old -- which was a LOT of disposibles!